The Common Denominator in 2012’s Top Music

The Common Denominator in 2012’s Top Music January 10, 2013

What do most of 2012’s top songs have in common? Take a guess. Sex? Partying? Love?

Would you believe… “Heartache”?

Yes, the top songs of 2012 had their share of sex and partying, but most of the songs that crawled to the top of the billboard charts echoed a common message: the heartache from lost love.

Believe it or not, the number one album for the last two years straight has been Adele’s “21.” Adele sold 4.41 million of her album “21” this year, adding to the 5.8 million copies sold in 2011. Her song Set Fire to the Rain was just one of those songs, rising to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for most of February 2012. The song spills the honest feelings of a woman who was hurt by a man:

‘Cause there’s a side to you that I never knew, never knew
All the things you’d say, they were never true, never true
And the games you’d play, you would always win, always win…

and struggles to convince her heart what her mind knows:

But I set fire to the rain
Watched it pour as I touched your face
Well, it burned while I cried
‘Cause I heard it screaming
Out your name, your name

Adele’s whole album connected with listeners, an honest cry from someone hurt in a relationship. But this wasn’t the only song to do so in 2012.

  • Rihanna’s hit We Found Love was No. 1 on the same chart for almost 3 months. This song and music video tells the story of a girl who found and lost love in a hopeless place.
  • Kelly Clarkson’s song Stronger hit No. 1 in February 2012 and lasted almost a month, imploring that breaking up isn’t easy, but brokenness doesn’t have to totally break us.
  • Katy Perry chimed in with her lament about lost love with Part of Me, a song about rebounding from a harsh breakup.
  • Or how about the No. 1 digital download of the entire year, Goyte’s hit Somebody That I Used to Know, a song ranting about a relationship gone wrong?

The list goes on. Taylor Swift’s We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together, or the current No. 1 hit, Bruno Mars’ Locked Out of Heaven. All about heartache! We actually wrote a detailed 2-part article about all these top 2012 hits and their meaning on our ministry’s Youth Culture Window web page.

What Do You Think?
Why are these songs resonating with people today?

What are ways we can respond to this cry for love and security?


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